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USDA Under Trump Administration Supports Designation of Devil's Staircase Wilderness

At a July 26 Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee hearing, the Forest Service under the Trump administration endorsed wilderness protection for the Devil’s Staircase and the Wild Rogue in Sen. Ron Wyden’s Oregon Wildlands Act, S. 1548.

In his statement to the committee, Glenn Casamassa, associate deputy chief of the National Forest System, U.S. Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture, says:

“The proposed Devil’s Staircase Wilderness provides an outstanding representation of the Oregon Coast Range and would enhance the National Wilderness Preservation System. There is an existing road within the proposed boundary of this wilderness that would require decommissioning by heavy equipment prior to designation as wilderness or allowance for use of mechanized equipment for this purpose after the enactment. USDA supports the designation of the proposed Devil’s Staircase Wilderness.”

And of the Rogue, he states, “Section 301 of the bill would designate 56,100 acres managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and by the Forest Service as an addition to the Wild Rogue Wilderness. USDA supports this addition of wilderness on National Forest System.”

Andy Stahl of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics (FSEEE) points out that the BLM’s prior pro-Devils Staircase position appears to remain unchanged.

In a July 13 statement on the bill, Wyden said, 

“When it comes to recreation opportunities in some of the world’s most uniquely beautiful places, Oregon has it all. It’s time for Congress to listen to the voices of Oregonians from every part of our state who have spoken in favor of protecting these unmatched natural treasures for years to come.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley, who introduced the bill with Wyden, added, “These Oregon jewels deserve to be protected for future generations of Oregonians and Americans,” Merkley said. “With this bill, we will not only preserve some of Oregon’s unique and most special places, we will also boost local economies and help cement Oregon’s well-deserved reputation as one of the world’s greatest recreation destinations.”

You can read Casamassa’s full statement here.